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Being a fourteen year old, I do not understand much of what you guys were discussing. But having thought about and studied a lot of these things, I too would like to comment. I'll start with this:
"The theory of evolution is indisputably correct." Here's a chapter of a book that I've read: The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel(it's the shortened version). I can't find a pdf on google so I'll have to type it. I know it's long, but it's here for anyone who wants to read it.
"'Charles Darwin didn't want to murder God, as he once put it. But he did.' -Time Magazine
If you'd asked me about Darwin when I was 14 years old, I would have agreed with Time magazine-God was dead, and Darwin's theory of evolution had killed him-at least for me.
But is Darwinism true? I walked away from my formal education convinced it was. As my spiritual journey began taking me deeper into science, though, I started to have an increasingly uneasy feeling. The more I investigated the issue, the more I saw that I might have overlooked some important information. I began to question whether the conclusions of Darwinism are really justified by the hard scientific facts.
Everyone agrees that evolution is true to some extent. Undeniably, there are variations within species of animals and plants, which explains why there are more than 200 different varieties of dogs, why cows can be bred for improved milk production, and why bacteria can adapt and develop immunity to antibiotics. This is called "micro-evolution."
A bigger question than how different species developed is how life itself began. Macro-evolution theorizes that single-cell organisms developed into all the life forms that we now know. But where did those single-cell organisms come from? How did life begin in the first place?
Miller and Urey re-created what they considered to be the atmosphere of the primitive earth (methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water) in a laboratory and shot electricity through it to stimulate the effects of lightning.
More recent scientific thought suggests that natural theories of life arising on its own no longer appear valid. For instance, since 1980, NASA scientists have shown that primitive earth did not have methane, ammonia, or hydrogen (the components of the Miller-Urey experiment) in any significant amounts. Without those gases, the experiment does not work.
For some time, many scientists held the theory that life developed on its own by chance. But as science reveals increasing complexity in even the most primitive forms of life, this theory has lost much of its credibility.
The obvious question-for me at least-is, Where does this intelligent design come from? Does the evidence for an intelligent design imply that there is an Intelligent Designer?
Do you have to give up science to believe in God? Here's what James Tour, a nanoscientist on the cutting edge of molecular theory, says about that: "I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God."
Other Resources on This Topic:
1. Charles B. Thaxton, Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen. The Mystery of Life'e Origin. Dallas: Lewis and Stanley, 1984.
There were more than two resources, but my hands are pretty tired and I doubt you will need all of them so...moving on.
"More evidence has been found for this concept than virtually any other scientific idea." More evidence? Please take a look at this, under the "HAS EVOLUTION BEEN PROVEN?" part.
"Humans are not basically evil, we are simply easily influenced. With the possible exception of sociopaths, who suffer from a mental disorder, no one wakes up in the morning and thinks "How can I do great evil today?" We simply do the best we can, but can very easily lose sight of ourselves." By your definition of evil, I would say that humans can be evil and good, depending on their genetics and environment. It is possible for someone to develop sadism. Therefore, it is also possible that some people wake up in the morning and think, "How can I do great evil today?" because they derive pleasure from maliciously and non-consentually hurting others. I actually have read about the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment, but they're about obedience to authority, not suggestibility. Humans are mostly selfish, and these experiments show that most people fear the consequences of disobeying authority more than they value their personal ethics.
"There is no such thing as altruism. All acts of good are selfishly motivated in some abstract way or another (such things as "feeling good about yourself" and "liking yourself" are inherently very rewarding. If doing good caused self-hate, no one would do it)." I'm not very sure about this one. While I do agree that humans are mostly selfish, a possible exception would be acts of good through love.
"An afterlife is an uncertainy. Life should be lived with this in consideration. Death should not, however, be feared, as if death is annihilation, we won't be aware of our state of non-existence, as we won't exist. The most plausible possibility of a true afterlife per se seems to be a form of reincarnation. This is scientifically logical, as we could simply live another life as someone else born with the same genes for a certain form of consciousness (something it seems very likely exists) that we had. We would never be aware of this, and our lives would never be connected." Disagree, because I'm Christian. I'm also curious as to why you say this is scientifically logical? You're implying that the genes someone gets from their parents has to do with people who have died. Also, if souls really do reincarnate, where will they go if the earth becomes uninhabitable for life? I think reincarnation was made up by people with false memory syndrome. I'm serious about that - there are people who do hypnosis to remember their "past life," but they get false memories.
"Marijuana is needlessly illegal. The drug is less powerful, less addictive, and has fewer side effects than alcohol and cigarettes, both of which are legal. It is also an impossible drug to overdose on." I agree with you. :) If you are interested at all, I found a website that talks about why marajuana is illegal. I didn't take the time to read it all but here it is: Why is marajuana illegal?. Just shows how useful google is. XP
"Free will is uncertain." I'm not sure what you mean by uncertain. In my opinion, as long as a person is allowed to make any decision (even if there is only one possible decision that the person will chose), it is free will.
"Religions exist solely as social engineering that exploits the infuriating unknowability of our universe, that most humans are unable to reconcile (it provdes a quick, easy answer to impossible question). It's a very complex and powerful way to tell people what to do." Some religions are probably like that, but I seek the truth.
"Genetics and environment are entirely responsible for who we are. If a soul exists, it exists as a passive observer." Agreed.